You are on page 1of 2

People v.

Canoy (2000) 1
G.R. Nos. 122510-11 March 17, 2000 Davide, Jr., CJ

NATURE: Appeal from the decision of RTC finding the accused guilty of 2 counts of murder

There are 2 sets of facts in this case. The Trial Court gave full faith and credit to the
prosecution's version.

FACTS (according to the witnesses of the prosecution):
The victims, Gabuyan and Duay, were Metrodiscom Anti-Narcotics Unit (MANU) agents.
On January 12, 1990, Gabuyan and Duay were handcuffed by Pat. Romarate,
accompanied by Manriquez and Canoy. The two were dragged into the group's vehicle.
Later that night, Manriquez and Canoy's neighbor saw them with two others in tow, one
of whom was already dead. They said they killed him because he was a "sparrow".
On February 17, 1990, Patrolmen Baguhin, Floribel, and Paguidaton learned that the
perpetrators in the killing wanted to surrender. The officers went to "matadahan" where
they found Manriquez and Canoy waiting. The two told them that they had knowledge of
the death of Gabuyan and Duay in the hands of Romarate, and they wanted to surrender
because their conscience was bothering them. The two accused were brought to the
Anti-Crime Office for investigation.
After the Investigating Officer apprised them of their constitutional rights, Manriquez and
Canoy said they did not need the assistance of a lawyer and they were willing to give a
statement. Nevertheless, the officer called a PAO lawyer (Atty. Tanjili) to assist them in
signing a sworn statement waiving their rights to counsel and to remain silent.
On February 19, in the presence of Fiscal Garcia, the two accused executed an
extrajudicial confession wherein they narrated their participation in the commission of the
TC convicted Manriquez and Canoy of murder, sentencing them to reclusion perpetua.
Only Canoy appealed. He maintains that the confession he gave before the police
authorities cannot be used as evidence against him because his waiver of his rights to
remain silent and to counsel during custodial interrogation was not made knowingly,
voluntarily, and intelligently since:
o The sworn statement was written in English and there was no proof that the
preliminary questions and answers therein were translated, much less a
translation after every question and answer in his alleged waiver, into the
Visayan-Cebuano dialect;
o There was no proof that he, then only 18 years old and a 4th grader, clearly
understood the import and consequences of the waiver which was "couched in
broad and general terms";
o The sworn statement related only to his alleged disinterest to be represented by
a counsel but it did not signify an agreement to make a confession of the crime
with which he was charged;
o He executed the sworn statement not knowing that an extra-judicial confession
was attached;
o The presence of his mother during the signing of the waiver did not guarantee
that the same was done voluntarily and intelligently.

People v. Canoy (2000) 2
W/N Canoy's rights were violated !YES, but his conviction is affirmed because of
It is settled that ones right to be informed of the right to remain silent and to counsel
contemplates the transmission of meaningful information rather than just the ceremonial and
perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle. It is not enough for the interrogator
to merely repeat to the person under investigation the provisions of Section 12, Article III of the
1987 Constitution; the former must also explain the effects of such provision in practical terms --
e.g., what the person under interrogation may or may not do -- and in a language the subject
fairly understands. The right to be informed carries with it a correlative obligation on the part of
the police investigator to explain, and contemplates effective communication which results in the
subjects understanding of what is conveyed. Since it is comprehension that is sought to be
attained, the degree of explanation required will necessarily vary and depend on the education,
intelligence, and other relevant personal circumstances of the person undergoing investigation.
In further ensuring the right to counsel, it is not enough that the subject is informed of such right;
he should also be asked if he wants to avail of the same and should be told that he could ask for
counsel if he so desired or that one could be provided him at his request. If he decides not to
retain a counsel of his choice or avail of one to be provided for him and, therefore, chooses to
waive his right to counsel, such waiver, to be valid and effective, must still be made with the
assistance of counsel.
It is evidently clear that no meaningful information as to his rights under custodial
interrogation was conveyed to Canoy. He was not asked if he wanted to avail of his rights and
was not told that if he has no lawyer of his own choice he could avail of one to be appointed for
him. Furthermore, the waiver states that he does not want the assistance of counsel and it is not
shown that he agreed to be assisted by Atty. Tanjili. The testimony of Atty. Tanjili also
eloquently reveals his cavalier attitude and the insufficiency of the assistance given. His
explanation to Canoy on his constitutional rights during custodial interrogation and of the effects
of the waiver thereof is unsatisfactory. Atty. Tanjili also admitted during cross-examination that
the accused agreed to confess because of the promise that they would turn state witnesses.
Finally, it is obvious that the so-called extrajudicial confession, which is a sworn statement
marked as Exhibit "F-2," and made to appear as "page 2," was not yet prepared when Atty.
Tanjili was approached to "assist" Canoy. Since the waiver of GREGORIO was intrinsically
flawed and, therefore, null and void, the alleged extrajudicial confession is inadmissible in
Nonetheless, the nullity of the waiver and the expurgation of the extrajudicial confession
do not absolve Canoy from any criminal responsibility. The evidence on record satisfies us with
moral certainty that he and his co-accused conspired together to commit the crime. However,
Canoy is entitled to the benefit of the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority under the
second paragraph of Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code. According to him he was born on 12
June 1972; he was then above fifteen but below eighteen years of age on the date the crimes in
question were committed.

Bianca Danica Santiago Villarama